Are blueberry plants worth growing?

wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 2,897
I've been eyeing up blueberry plants for a while now but haven't been able to justify the cost and space for them. I've got a couple of big pots free this year though so I could have a think about trying a couple. Do they crop very heavily in pots generally or am I looking at expecting a couple of handfuls of berries a year from each plant? By the time I've bought the plants and the ericacious compost they'll need to crop well to earn their keep.

Whimberries grow well up here so I'm hoping the climate will suit blueberries too.
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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 16,405
    IMHO whimberries, or bilberries for Lancashire lasses, have a far superior taste to blueberries.   I'd grow those instead.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 1,232
    If they grew near me I'd just pick the wild ones!
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 4,546
    Chatting to a fellow dog-walker about 18 months ago he mentioned that so far he'd picked 5kg blueberries from his 5 plants! I had assumed they didn't produce much fruit, but he confirmed it was about 14lbs. I was quite shocked.
    So Nov 2017 I bought 3 excellent plants from Trehane, and my first harvest this summer was about 500g - I was well chuffed.
    They've already grown into quite big straggly bushes, but I'm looking forward to this year's harvest. The berries were really good - highly recommended.
    If you've got rainwater for them - go for it
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 20,540
    they seem a bit of a faff IMHO
    Devon.
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 13,435
    I had mine in pots to start off with but I don’t think they justify the cost of compost and feed,  I’ve got them in the ground this year so I’ll see if they do any better. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 16,405
    Blueberries are attractive plants - pretty flowers, blue fruits (if you get there before Possum and the birds) and lovely autumn foliage colour.   They do need acidic soil and feeding and rainwater so can be a faff if you haven't got that.

    However, lovely as they are, their flavour is bland compared to bilberries.  Imagine my delight therefore at finding wild "myrtilles" on sale in Picard, the French answer to Iceland.   I might still plant a couple of blueberries to have fresh, raw fruit but for pies and tarts and cakes, it'll be the frozen wild ones.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 2,897
    Rainwater isn't a problem as I've got plenty of storage capacity but I'd have to buy ericaceous compost. I might see what the local nursery has got in and go from there. My wife makes an excellent blueberry muffin so we get through quite a few.

    I'll still keep picking the whimberries but to find the ones the sheep haven't got to you need to do some hard work on steep slopes. The easy picking area was caught up in the hill fire over the summer, hopefully it will just rejuvinate the plants but it also burned down some fences so the sheep will probably get the regrowth. I tend to leave that area for the less able pickers though and just browse a few as I'm walking through.
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Todmorden, West YorksPosts: 5,181
    Having acid soil I grow blueberries in the ground.  Is there a reason why you can't do this, @wild edges ?  It's a lot less work than growing them in pots, and since you have whimberries/bilberries growing wild, it sounds as if you might have acid soil too... 

    I did a lot of research before buying the bushes, on the basis that however beautiful and large the berry, if it was relatively tasteless there wasn't a lot of point growing it.  However, Earliblue (big fruit) I find rather bland compared with wild bilberries.  Northland is definitely a success, though.  It's like a metre-high bilberry bush... with big fruit for a bilberry, though small for a blueberry, and a proper tang when you bite into them.  The autumn colour is lovely, too.   :)

    There's a clough up the valley a mile from here where the wild bilberry bushes are tall enough that my then-3-year-old daughter could hide in them.  The fruit is large too... anyone know if you can propagate bilberries from cuttings??   :D
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
  • wild edgeswild edges The north west of south east WalesPosts: 2,897
    My house is a relatively new build and the ground is made up of all kinds of rubbish and clay, there's not much left of the old acid grassland. Whimberry can't be that fussy though as I see them growing in all kinds of places, inside rotten gate posts, on top of stone walls, anywhere there's a scrap of soil and a place for a bird to perch.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,435
    The fruit is large too... anyone know if you can propagate bilberries from cuttings??   :D
    Well you certainly can blueberries so you'd stand a good chance, I'd have thought.

    Quite a lot of plants that are described as acid lovers are actually lime haters. they'll grow in less acidic soil as long as there's no lime (rhodos and some azaleas, definitely). So you may be able to grow blueberries in the ground WE, if there's not too much cement/gypsum left in the rubble.

    I grow mine in the ground - I picked a good bowlful of berries twice a week for 2 months or so last summer from 2 bushes (one early season and one mid). I was giving them away to the neighbours for a couple of weeks in July.
    My heart has joined the thousand, for my friend stopped running today
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